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    What is Sustainable Real Estate?

    Sustainable real estate is the term to describe all developments that are designed and constructed with the main goal to minimise negative environmental impact. Sustainable properties are built to improve energy efficiency, conserve water, reduce waste, and prioritise the use of renewable resources. Eco-friendly developments are becoming more popular as more people become aware of our impact on the environment. Investing in real estate not only has a positive effect on the environment but it can also provide long-term investment profit. 

    Sustainable real estate also refers to the communities and neighbourhoods designed to be eco-friendly. Towns considered sustainable are promoting a range of ways for individuals to reduce their carbon footprints. Such as encouraging walking and cycling by creating pedestrianised areas in cities and creating more green spaces and parks. There is a ’15-minute city’ concept which is a goal for towns to have everything that residents need to work and live within a 15-minute journey. This encourages reducing car usage, which in turn leads to a decrease in carbon footprint.

    Current Government regulations require all rental properties to have an EPC rating of E or higher before they become tenanted. In 2021, a new legislation was revealed to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the buy-to-let sector. Soon, all new tenancies must have an EPC rating of at least C, by 2025. All existing tenancies must comply with this rule by 2028.

    Demand for energy-efficient homes is rapidly growing with many young professionals opting to buy a new build due to the developments being built to a higher specification. These developments tend to be built with an energy-efficient spec and installed with newer appliances and systems to improve the EPC rating and create more sustainable living. 

    Investing in sustainable real estate offers a range of benefits for investors and for the environment. Even though it will be challenging to implement sustainability throughout the UK due to high costs, sustainable real estate is predicted to become increasingly popular in the upcoming years.

    The Benefits of Investing in
    Sustainable Real Estate

    One of the most obvious benefits is that sustainable developments are helping make the world more eco-friendly and encouraging tenants to be more environmentally friendly. When investing in these developments you are not just securing an investment, but you are contributing to a brighter future for the world and many future generations.

    When investors buy into sustainable real estate it provides them with a sense of social responsibility as they are helping promote sustainability and are paving the way to an eco-friendly world. Whilst also providing a steady income to investors, it is a win-win.

    Additionally, investing in sustainable real estate can lead to major financial gains. As more people become aware of the environmental impact people have on the earth, demand for environmentally friendly properties starts to increase rapidly. This means that developments constructed now have a big potential to see a large increase in value over time as demand continues to grow.

    sustainable living

    Sustainable developments usually have lower maintenance and operating costs due to new, energy-efficient features. This creates higher profits for investors as the bills and expenses do not cost as much as a development constructed to a standard, non-sustainable specification.

    Many off-plan developments are being constructed with sustainability in mind. New-build homes tend to be built with eco-friendly materials. Research shows that 80% of new developments have an A or B energy-efficiency rating, which is better than most existing homes. 

    Tenants are usually happy to pay more for a rental property if the development offers improved internal comfort levels, lower energy bills and improved air quality. This creates an appealing living space for residents, leading to happier, longer-staying tenants. 

    Sustainable developments are a future-proof investment as governments across the world are becoming more strict and introducing more legislation based on sustainability. By investing in newly built sustainable property, investors are already ahead of future legislation. Therefore no upgrades to the developments will need to be done as soon as older buildings. For instance, investors who own a property with an EPC rating of E will need to make several upgrades to achieve a rating of C, incurring significant costs.

    sustainable

    City Focus | Becoming More Sustainable 

    Many cities are beginning to unfold schemes designed to provide more sustainable and eco-friendly living in various cities. City councils are aiming to reduce carbon footprint by creating more green spaces, energy-efficient homes, and pedestrianising streets.

    Leeds

    Leeds City Council’s plan aims to make Leeds carbon-neutral by 2030. Working towards this goal, Leeds City Council is working on greatly improving the public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure in Leeds through a £270 million investment that will reduce CO2 emissions by 15,947 tonnes. This is done by creating new cycle lanes and making many Leeds city centre roads ‘bus only’ to encourage the use of public transport.  Across Leeds, over 4,000 properties have been upgraded to improve energy efficiency and once all properties are upgraded, the project will reduce the city’s carbon footprint by 5,000 tonnes. 

    Leeds also has many plans to create more energy-efficient houses and larger green spaces. One of the projects is ‘The Innovation Arc’ which is located between Woodhouse Moor and the River Aire.  This area contains Park Square and Millenium Square as well as many other public open spaces. The plan for this project is to connect these spaces through green streets and create a range of new areas for the public to enjoy. New planting will broaden biodiversity, improve air quality and create natural drainage. Spaces will be welcoming and accessible, creating safe places for people to meet, relax and play. There are many projects currently happening in Leeds which are all improving pedestrian accessibility and living quality, making Leeds a more desired location for potential tenants. 

    park

    Birmingham

    Birmingham City Council is committed to a 60% reduction in carbon emissions produced in the City by 2027.  Part of the plans to reach the goal is to ensure that new buildings within the City meet high standards to ensure they are of sustainable design. Meaning that new builds will be attractive to tenants looking for a more eco-friendly home. New developments should be designed and constructed to maximise energy efficiency and the use of low-carbon energy, conserve water, minimise waste, maximise recycling during construction and operation and more. 

    Plans are underway for a large scheme that aims to ‘rebuild’ the city with new parks and green spaces, creating areas residents will enjoy visiting. Since the Covid lockdown, there has been a heightened demand for properties close to parks. So properties near these upcoming green spaces will have a high demand, attracting more residents. The designs for the ‘Our Future City Plan 2040’ will transform Birmingham into an exciting, original, and more sustainable city. The plans for this project are to create cultural spaces, green walkways, tree-lined parks, and more accessible areas. This will benefit residents and working professionals as improving connectivity will make commuting easier and will attract more buyers looking for property, boosting rental demand in the area.  

    tree-lined path

    Liverpool

    A 2030 Net Zero Liverpool Action Plan sets out the actions that Liverpool can take to become a net zero city in 2030. It is a hugely challenging target, but one that can bring many benefits. It is estimated Liverpool has already cut 840,000 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere since 2005 and has planted more than half a million trees in the past 25 years.

    Liverpool council has recently developed a further 6km of cycle lanes and added electric and hydrogen-powered buses as public transport. This creates better accessibility for residents whilst helping the environment which will make Liverpool a desired location. They are also developing clean air and active travel strategies. Liverpool is also investing £4 million into a range of new green infrastructure to help reduce climate change impacts including a new plan to plant trees throughout the city centre.

    cycle lanes

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